Ethical Vignette paper

EthicalVignette paper

Nameof Student

EthicalVignette paper

Confidentialityis an important condition in counseling. It is not enough to say thatcounseling is confidential because not everything is keptconfidential at all times. Several things can lead to a breach ofconfidentiality. A factor that underscores the importance of theissue of confidentiality is the fact that it implicates the law. Theclass text will be summarized in this paper. Additionally, the paperwill document the provisions of the ACA Code of Ethics especiallywith regards to confidentiality and its limitations. The paper willalso discuss the relevant regulations found in my state relating toconfidentiality. A section on personal reactions and action willclose the paper. Summary According tothe class text, confidentiality is one of the conditions that makepsychotherapy possible. Clients go to a counselor expecting that thecounselor will keep the information they reveal to them privately. Ifthe information that clients disclose to their counselors was to beaccessed by unauthorized persons, it could ruin a person’sreputation, employment or personal relationships. The informationthat clients give to counselors can either about the self or others.Granted the sensitivity of the issues that the client takes to thecounselor, it is clear that the client takes a risk by revealinginformation and an expectation of confidentiality acts as a guaranteeto clients while taking this risk. In counseling,confidentiality is a client’s right enforceable by law. As such,even if the counselor does not make it known to a client,confidentiality remains a client’s right. Unnecessary andinappropriate disclosure of client information can warrant legalaction which can result in fines or legal and organizationaldisciplinary action. Whereas confidentiality is a client’s right,it is not an absolute right. It is protected for the benefit of boththe client and the society. Confidentiality can be violated if thereis a public interest at stake. It is essential to inform a clientabout what can be kept confidential and what might warrant disclosureof some client information. Right at the onset of therapy, it isimportant for a client to be informed and consent to the things thatmay limit confidentiality. A client should benotified of any breaches of confidentiality. They should know whatwas disclosed, to whom and when. However, there are times when thecounselor might not inform the client about a breach ofconfidentiality. Such an instance is where the knowledge of a breachof confidentiality would help the client escape or avoid necessaryresponsibility for his intentions or plans. The knowledge of thespecific issues of confidentiality that can hinder effectiveparticipation on the part of a client would help a counselor considerwhether such issues can be resolved through mutualagreement.Discovery The AmericanCounseling Association (ACA) code of ethics stipulates thatcounselors should seek to understand how clients regard privacy andconfidentiality. The Code explains that cultural backgrounds cancause clients to differ in their understanding and expectation ofconfidentiality. Exceptions to confidentiality are contained insection B.2. Section B.2.a of the Code explains that events thatcounselors should report grievous and predictable harm. The said harmshould be reported both when directed to self and to others. Thesection also explains that a counselor should also report informationconfided in them by a client if the law demands that that informationbe reported. The ACA code of ethics explains thata counselor should report contagious and life-threatening diseases topersons who are at a risk of contracting those diseases. However, inorder for the counselor’s disclosure to be considered legal, theymust have assessed the client’s intention to inform these thirdparties (ACA Code of Ethics B.2.c). Alternatively, the counselor’sdisclosure can be termed as legal if they ascertained that the clientis not engaging in behavior that shield third parties fromcontracting the behavior. The Code advises that counselors shouldregard their relevant state laws that regulate disclosure regardingdisease status (ACA, 2014). In its Code of Ethics,the ACA highlights that counselors have options they should considerin reacting to a court order to disclose certain client information.The options provided in the code are seeking a written informedconsent from a client, countering the order using legal action orlimiting the disclosure in order to minimize the potential harm. Thisis contained in B.2.d and is echoed in B.2.e where the Codestipulates that in situations require the disclosure of certaininformation the disclosure is limited to essential information only(ACA, 2014). Confidentiality has three pillarprinciples namely privilege, autonomy, and beneficence. This states,the law goes a step higher to provide a stature NCGS 8-53.8, that isthe privilege to a counselor. The counselor has the right to protecthis clients on matters of confidentiality, but there are limitations.The limitations may be in issues of child abuse, elder abuse, athreat to a client, or a court order that require information from aminor. On a more critical analysis and scrutiny, the statures of thisstate tend to follow and adhere to the ACA Codes of Ethics (ACA,2015). One of the areas in which the state boardresonate the provisions contained in the ACA Code of Ethics inseeking the consent of a client when disclosing their information.The state counseling board underscores the fact that when workingwith groups, it is important to seek to understand the policies ofthe group related to disclosure. Contravening a group’s or anorganization’s policies that regulate information sharing mightrender a counselor’s disclosure illegal. According to the board,for a counselor to disclose information about minors, they have toconsult with their caretakers. Some people might take issue with thedisclosure of certain information about their children. The boardalso advises that counselors should regularly consult with theirsupervisory associations or organizations for guidance on how to goabout deciding to or not to disclose certain client information(, 2015). Reaction and action On my part, this course has given me a clear picture of howdecisions are made on some critical issues or topics that are verydelicate. The materials used in doing this assignment taught meamazing lessons especially in regards to confidentiality. From thesematerials, I learned that decisions arrived at after resolvingethical challenges affect a range of people hence creating a need todeliberate carefully. Careful deliberation when resolving ethicalchallenges ensures and guarantees justice to all parties. To increasecounselors’ awareness, I would recommend counselors to research andgo through these materials and resources because they would learn alot from it. This will also make them critically analyze situationswhen dealing with clients. Counseling being myprofession, I intend to carry out all the lessons I have learnt fromthis and put them into practice. After working on this assignment, aIintend to ensure that I abide by the provisions of my state laws andother relevant regulations. I have learned that violating such lawscan make clients take legal action against me. I endeavor to ensurethat I inform my clients about their right to confidentiality withoutignoring that they know it. More importantly, I plan to ensure that Iexplain to the client circumstances under which I might be requiredto reveal their information to other people. This would help me avoidstand offs with my clients or being caught up in situations thatwould hinder future relations with them. Through this assignment, Ihave decided I will uphold the lessons I learned on multiculturalism.The applicability of this concept is in how people define issues ofprivacy and confidentiality differently. Inconclusion, clients seek counseling expecting that their informationwill be safeguarded. If the information that clients tell theircounselors was to be revealed inappropriately, it can ruin theirpersonal, social and professional standing. However, situations inwhich the client might be in danger or might endanger others requirea counselor to report to third parties. Third parties could includegovernment authorities or individuals targeted with whatever schemesthe client could be devising. Counselors have several options whenconfronting a situation where they are expected to disclose clientinformation. This is according to the ACA Code of Ethics. The lessonsI learned from this assignment are applicable to practice as acounselor.


ACA.(2014). ACACode of Ethics As approved by the ACA Governing Council.American Counseling Association. Mental health counseling. Retrieved April 13, 2015 from